Mr. NIELDS: There has been testimony before the committee you
engaged in shredding of documents on November 21, 1986. Do you
Mr. NORTH: I do not deny that I engaged in shredding on November 21. I will also tell this committee that I engaged in shredding
almost every day that I had a shredder and that I put things in
burn bags when I didn't.
So every single day I was on National Security Council staff,
some documents were destroyed, and I don't want you to have the
impression that those documents that I referred to seeking approval disappeared on the 21st. Because I can't say that. In fact, I am
quite sure, by virtue of the conversations I remember about the
21st, that those documents were already gone.
They were gone by virtue of the fact that we saw these operations unraveling as early as the mid part of October: with the loss
of the Hasenfus airplane, and the discussion that the Director of
Central Intelligence had had with a private citizen about what he
knew of a Contra diversion, as you put it. And at that point I
began to, one, recognize I would be leaving the NSC, because that
was a purpose for my departure, to offer the scapegoat, if you will,
and, second of all, recognizing it was coming down, I didn't want
some new person walking in there opening files that would possibly
expose people at risk.
So I do not want you to leave with the idea that those documents
were shredded just on the 21st. They might have been shredded on
the 19th or the 11th of November when I came back from a series
of trips to Europe.